When it comes to becoming a better bird photographer, nothing beats picking up the camera and practicing, practicing and practicing some more. Learning by doing is the key to becoming a great photographer in any field.
But that doesn’t mean that a good book doesn’t have it’s value: learning the theory behind making fantastic wildlife images can change the way you think and open your mind to new techniques and ideas that can lead to more creative, higher quality and just plain better bird photos.
There are many instructional type books out there about photography in general, and about wildlife and nature photography more specifically. This article focuses on 8 of the very best that are available right now.
Bird photography is both an art and a science. While some books lean towards the more technical aspects, many are more focused on composition and field craft. Having good all round knowledge of all the important aspects of finding and photographing birds, as well as post processing, will make you a better photographer from start to finish.
Top 8 Books for Bird Photographers
1. Your Camera Manual
Yep, if you haven’t learned the ins and outs of your camera yet: do it! Mastering your camera is the first step to being able to capture birds in the wild. Things happen quickly out there, and if you’re stuck on which button to press or dial to turn at that critical moment; it’s all over. Your use of your camera should become second nature, and that happens by both learning how it works in detail from the manual, and using it regularly in different situations. So while a camera manual might not be your ideal Sunday afternoon read, getting through it a couple of times and highlighting the most important pages will pay dividends in the long run.
2. Learn the Art of Bird Photography: The Complete Field Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Photographers and Birders by Tim Boyer
3. Bird Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Mastering the Art of Capturing Stunning Images of Birds by Mark Smith
4. The Handbook of Bird Photography by Markus Varesvuo, Jari Peltomaki and Bence Mate
5. The Art of Bird Photography: The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques by Arthur Morris
This is a brand new as yet unreleased book due out on 2019, but I thought it very fitting to include in this list.
The author, Marie Read, has some superb titles under her name and Mastering Bird Photography looks to continue that trend. Her book Into The Nest Into the Nest and Secret Lives of Common Birds are highly regarded and cement the author as someone who not only knows how to take excellent photos, but as a person with extensive knowledge of North American birds, including their behavior, calls and nesting habits. Marie Read is much more than just another technically proficient bird photographer, but a true naturalist as well.